One in Five Czech Children Use Tobacco Products, Shift Towards E-Cigarettes and Heated Tobacco Observed

Date – Recent data from the State Health Institute (SZÚ) has revealed that approximately one in five Czech children between the ages of 13 and 15 are using some form of tobacco product. While traditional cigarettes have seen a partial decline among young users, they have turned to alternatives such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco, wrongly believing them to be “practically harmless.”

The Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) findings were presented by SZÚ on Wednesday, highlighting that the youngest tobacco users are more likely to opt for e-cigarettes and heated tobacco. According to the survey, 21.5% of students are using tobacco products, with 19% of boys and 24.1% of girls included in the group. The distribution of tobacco use among respondents showed that 11.2% were smoking traditional cigarettes, 10.9% were using heated tobacco, 21.4% were using e-cigarettes, and 8.1% were using nicotine pouches.

Of the young smokers surveyed, over 54% reported attempting to quit smoking in the past year, with 28.1% currently in the process of trying to stop.

Marie Nejedlá, the head of the SZÚ’s Center for Public Health Support, commented on the concerning shift in tobacco use among young people. She highlighted the mistaken notion prevailing among young users that products like e-cigarettes or heated tobacco are “healthy” or relatively harmless compared to traditional cigarettes.

It is crucial to note that heated tobacco products contain nicotine, solid particles, benzene, acrolein, and nitrosamines. Zsofia Pusztaiová, head of the World Health Organization (WHO) office in the Czech Republic, emphasized the WHO’s recommendation to either ban new and alternative tobacco products until evidence of their lower harm is available or regulate them similarly to traditional tobacco products.

The GYTS survey, which has been conducted for twenty years in the Czech Republic, engaged 3,190 students between the ages of 13 and 15. The findings underscore the importance of targeted awareness campaigns and regulatory measures to combat the use of tobacco products among young individuals. Raising awareness about the potential health risks associated with e-cigarettes and heated tobacco is essential to ensure the well-being of the younger generation.

Article by Prague Forum

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